Matthew McConaughey introduces Lincoln Navigator Concept in New York

Lincoln Navigator Concept

Crazy as it sounds, one of the highlights of this year’s New York Auto Show – one that featured everything from exotic metal like the Koeniggsegg Regera to a new Nissan GT-R – actually took place over at the Lincoln stand, where the Navigator Concept SUV made its world debut.

If you though the Continental sedan was big-time, then the Navi is sure to blow your mind. Especially if you’re a Matthew McConaughey fan, as the actor and brand ambassador was on hand to present the car.

Just look at it: turbine-style 24-inch wheels, massive body panels and ultra-wide two-row gullwing doors (eat your heart out, Tesla Model X) make for a space-age look that I know I would never have expected of such a conservative model from such a conservative brand. Too bad there’s little chance those doors and interior will make production.

The theme continues in the detailing; the deep chrome lip at the bottom of the grille is wide enough that you can check your teeth in it, while a graceful side-crease curves down after the rear quarter-panel to give the impression that the big SUV is firmly planted on the ground, yet graceful at the same time. I know that sounds corny, but it’s true. There’s something about the Navigator Concept that just seems right, much as the Continental has managed.

Lincoln Navigator Concept 06

Inside, the space-aginess continues, with three rows of seating finished in pale, pastel blue with tan piping to match the real wood inserts found throughout the cabin. The second row is made up of two captain’s chairs, and a very white, very iSomething centre console divides the two. On it sit the controls for the rear seat entertainment system, which features widescreen displays mounted to the back of the front headrests.

Up front, the gauge cluster is one big screen, while the hub of the two-spoke steering wheel sits low, so that your driver should have no trouble seeing the gauges ahead.

Oh, and to make getting into both the front and rear seats easier, a three-stair step telescopes out from underneath the truck. While the gullwing doors won’t make production, those steps – or at least a version thereof – could, an evolution of the power running boards available on the current Lincoln Navigator.

Unlike some other concepts seen at the show, this one actually has proper running gear in the form of the 3.5-litre, twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 that powers a variety of Fords and Lincolns.

This being a concept, we’ll have to wait awhile to see what the production Navigator looks like as it gets closer to its launch, which is likely to be the 2018 model year. It’s quite the spectacular start, though, and you hope Lincoln manages to keep the concept’s mojo.

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Dan Heyman

Dan Heyman

Dan Heyman is a car guy through-and-through, ever since his first word was “Toyota”. Dan has worked as a full-time automotive journalist since 2010, having driven and written about everything from Abarths to Sierras and tackled race tracks from Texas to Toronto during that time.